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up in surprise, his Shadow skin rippling with the distortion of the spell. As he brought his elongating hand to his mouth to send the sphere away, Galen turned to the spheres in the air around him, sent them, one after another, to surround Elizar, and so with the spheres in the rock, and the spheres around the soldiers, encasing him in layer upon layer, darkness upon darkness, isolating, suffocating, crushing, beyond all escape.

With a great rolling crack the spheres collapsed, crushing Elizar to nothingness.

Satisfaction resounded through them.

Now Galen's task required just one more death.

He saw Morden with the plasma rifle just as the blast hit him. Then he was on the ground, his heart hammering, his arms searching belatedly for balance. Morden stood over him, face twisted with anger-whether at Galen, the Shadows, or himself, Galen didn't know.

Morden fired into his chest again and again, each thump sending a shock of pain through Galen. The plasma was burning through the weakened black covering over his heart, searing the skin beneath. Although Morden's rifle was less powerful than the beams of Elizar and Razeel, Galen had little protection left. When it failed, a single blast would be sufficient to kill him.

His skin scalding, blistering, Galen forced himself to be still. Morden was simply completing the final step of Galen's task for him. He would not fight back. He felt no desire to strike at Morden, only an overwhelming sadness at all that must be lost. Soon Morden would die, Anna would die, John would die. The soldiers and substrates still held in slavery would die, the Eye would die, Z'ha'dum would die. He could do nothing for any of them.

As the burning thumps faded one into another, Galen's gaze wandered upward, along parapets and rune-covered
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